The Saint Louis Billikens basketball team will host the Central Arkansas Bears on Tuesday for each squad’s 2021-22 season opener.
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The game (8 p.m. ET start time) isn’t on TV, but anyone in the US can watch Central Arkansas vs Saint Louis live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ will have exclusive coverage of 2,000+ college basketball games during the 2021-22 season. It also includes dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $6.99 for a month or $69.99 for a year.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $13.99 per month. Separately, the three streaming services would cost a total $20.97 per month, so you’re saving about 33 percent:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch Central Arkansas vs Saint Louis live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, Oculus Go, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Central Arkansas vs Saint Louis Preview
The Billikens’ chances of reaching their first NCAA Tournament since 2018-19 took a massive hit in late October, when guard Javonte Perkins, the team’s leading scorer a season ago, sustained a season-ending ACL injury.
Now a fifth-year senior, Perkins averaged 17.1 efficient points and 3.9 rebounds last year as Saint Louis went 14-7 overall and 6-4 in Atlantic 10 play.
“You could pretty much put him down for 20 points,” Billikens head coach Travis Ford said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “So, now we’ve got to find other strengths. Where can others come into play? What other ways will be be able to score? We wanted to play fast. We might want to play even faster now.
“Offensive rebounding needs to become a weapon and getting to the free throw line as much as we can. We need our defense to create offense. We’re going to really talk about deflections and maybe start blitzing some ball screens more. The reality is that we lost a great player.”
The Billikens also lost their second- and third-leading scorers to the professional ranks, so Ford will rely more heavily upon sharpshooting guard Gibson Jimerson, whose 7.8 points per game a season ago ranked fourth on the team, and Yuri Collins, whose 6.1 assists per game led all Atlantic 10 players and ranked 10th nationally.
Collins was named to the conference’s preseason all-defensive team in October.
“Yuri is one of the best point guards in the country and makes everyone around him better,” Ford said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “But we need him to change the game defensively now. Javonte changed it offensively. We need Yuri to change it defensively.”
The Bears, who joined the ASUN Conference over the offseason after going 5-19 overall and 4-12 in Southland action last year, are in search of their first winning campaign since 2017-18.
They’ve got a particularly challenging early portion of the schedule on tap: After the tilt with the Billikens, Central Arkansas will visit the Butler Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears — the defending national champs — before hosting the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.
“Three teams on the road that are really, really good,” Bears head coach Anthony Boone said in August, according to the school’s athletics website. “We’ll find out a lot early. And then the next team, Oral Roberts, made the Sweet 16 last year. We have some really good competition to open the season. We’ll have to be tough in those games. We want to be tough in every game anyway, but we’ll certainly have to be tough and be positive and keep pushing forward during that stretch.”